The simple truth about Google’s home page

What makes Google’s home page a lesson for businesses everywhere? Probably a lot of things, but I’m focusing on three because keeping it simple is the point.

Pac-Man Google doodle

But first, how many of you played the mini Pac-Man game Google converted their logo to Friday and Saturday? I did on both days. And I left smiling. (See where I’m going with this yet?)

How many times do you walk away from an interaction with a company or website smiling?

How many times do your customers walk away from your company or your website smiling?

For Google, this type of positive experience stems from their  “Ten Things” philosophy. But before you start thinking of 10 things your company should be doing, let’s just start with the 3 lessons you can learn from Google’s home page. (#1 comes directly from Google’s own list.)

1. Focus on the user (customer) and all else will follow.

On their website, Google says, “We’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible.” Even better, they add that they “take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.”  (Ah, refreshing!)

So many companies serve their own profit first and put their customers further down on the list. But if you’re not serving your customers, they will go away—and so will your profit.

Is your number one priority your customers? Don’t just say it is, because if it’s not, they will know—and they will go.

2. Keep it simple.

How can you focus on your customers? Make it easy for customers to find or get what they need.

Google has the cleanest home page around. What are you there to do? Search. Google doesn’t get in your way.

Think about your own website or your store. How easy is it for customers to find what they need?

How do you speak to your customers? Do you tell them they can leverage the bandwidth of your expertise to maximize their optimum experience? Or do you tell them they can use what you know to their advantage?

Simplicity sells. Ask Nike. (Or, better yet, read Jack Trout’s The Power of Simplicity.)

3. Remember the fun.

Be creative! No matter what industry you’re in (well, almost), fun can boost your brand. Why is Google better than any other search engine? There are a lot of reasons, but one is that they make it so that people look forward to going to their site.

Google doodles (their word for their different logo designs) have always been a hit. I know I look forward to seeing what they will think of next. Google doodles celebrate all sorts of occasions in countries worldwide.

Cookie monster Google doodle

Simple fun, like this, makes people smile, and incorporating fun into your business can:

  • Make you more memorable
  • Put customers at ease
  • Promote a positive experience

Isn’t that what you want?

Remember this: The atmosphere you promote internally in your company, leaks out and infects your customers. Laughter and fun are just as contagious as misery and negativity. Which are your customers walking away with?

Ask Zappos how much positivity and creativity pay off. Why are they known for excellent customer service? Because they make it a priority and they treat their employees well. In fact, their philosophy, like Google’s, is based on 10 things too.

Oh yeah, both of these companies make billions—but if you want to argue and go a different way, be my guest. I mean, who wants a billion dollars, right?

**********

Speaking of Zappos, don’t forget, I will be posting a review of CEO Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, June 7th. I was sent two advance copies, so I will be giving away one to a lucky reader. Stay tuned!

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2 comments

  1. Christine Marie · May 25, 2010

    Google really does have it figured out. After I check my email, the first page I go to is Google…even if I don’t need to search for anything. I look forward to the logo changes. And even my personalized Google page is completely simple.

    If more companies thought like Google, I am sure their profits would skyrocket.

    • ctmarcom · May 27, 2010

      The funny thing is that they started out as “just” a search engine. They put so much effort into making it work well that people really responded. I love their Doodle 4 Google contest too. They have the winner’s logo posted today. And, of course, they have the best name of any search engine. Look how quickly it became a verb. (I’ll have to Google that.)

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